Dellucci revels in change of fortune
Outfielder hoping Friday's game-winner leads to hot streak
CLEVELAND -- The way things have been going for him lately, David Dellucci figured some dazzling play would fleece him of yet another hit in Friday's ninth inning.
So when his drive up the middle indeed found green and Dellucci found himself at the heart of a jubilant ambush just beyond first, he was understandably relieved.
"For that ball to go up the middle and nobody to be standing there making a diving a catch, it felt pretty good," Dellucci said.
Dellucci's game-winning single capped the Indians' five-run ninth inning in their dramatic 12-11 victory over the Tigers. So yes, everyone in the Tribe's ear-thumping clubhouse was feeling "pretty good."
But especially Dellucci, who saw his even harder hit ball an inning earlier shoot straight into Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez's glove to defuse a bases-loaded rally.
"Game-winning hits are always incredibly exciting," Dellucci said. "And after lining out the at-bat before, it felt really good. To finish off one heck of a ballgame in that kind of fashion, I'm just happy to be a part of it."
And really, just happy to be swinging the bat better. In his past six games, Dellucci is 7-for-21, including a game-winning homer in the eighth inning of last Saturday's win at Detroit. Even his recent outs have come off good swings.
"Obviously with the game-winning hit, you can't say enough about that and it defines itself," manager Eric Wedge said. "But you look at his at-bats lately ... he's had a lot of hard hits, so I definitely feel like he's heading in the right direction."
Dellucci certainly hopes so. For his recent emergence comes after a severely disappointing start to a year that saw him sitting with a .227 average and just one homer eight days ago.
His season-long frustration may have been best encapsulated by his hard-luck at-bat in the eighth inning.
"I really wanted to get back in there and come through," Dellucci said.
Of course, he got that chance with two outs and the game tied in the ninth. And this time, he drove Tigers closer Todd Jones' 2-1 offering up the middle to bring home Trot Nixon with the winning run.
It was the most improbable of endings to this most improbable of seasons for the first-place Tribe.
"This team is never too far behind to come back," Dellucci said. "And we proved that tonight. To do it in front of your home fans -- very incredible. Very incredible."
Particularly for the night's ultimate star.
"Sooner or later, I knew I was going to bust out," Dellucci said. "And hopefully this is a sign of things to come."
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.